Variation in Listeria monocytogenes dose responses in relation to subtypes encoding a full-length or truncated internalin A

Yuhuan Chen, William H. Ross, Richard C. Whiting, Anna van Stelten, Kendra K. Nightingale, Martin Wiedmann, Virginia N. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Internalin A (InlA; encoded by inlA) facilitates the crossing of the intestinal barrier by Listeria monocytogenes. Mutations leading to a premature stop codon (PMSC) in inlA and thus attenuated mammalian virulence have been reported. We recently characterized 502 L. monocytogenes food isolates from a retail survey and 507 human clinical isolates from multiple U.S. states with respect to the presence/absence of inlA mutations. The objective of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that dose responses for human listeriosis vary between L. monocytogenes strains with and those without a PMSC in inlA. Subtype-specific prevalence and concentration distributions in food, along with epidemiologic and consumption data, were input into established doseresponse models to generate an r value (probability of a cell causing illness). Under the conservative assumption that L. monocytogenes levels at retail represent levels consumed, mean log10 r values were -8.1 and -10.7 for L. monocytogenes subtypes with genes encoding a full-length and a truncated InlA, respectively. L. monocytogenes carrying a 5' frameshift mutation in a homopolymeric tract showed a mean log10 r value of -12.1. Confidence intervals for the r values and their differences varied depending on subtypes. When the increase in concentration of L. monocytogenes subtypes between retail and consumption was considered, mean log10 r values were reduced to -10.4, -13.8, and -12.8 for the subtypes with genes encoding a full-length InlA, for the subtypes carrying a PMSC in inlA, and for all L. monocytogenes isolates regardless of subtype, respectively. Our study provides further quantitative evidence that L. monocytogenes subtypes vary in abilities and relative likelihoods of causing human disease, which were mechanistically related to defined genetic markers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171-1180
Number of pages10
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2011


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